Remember Tom Swift jokes? (“Careful with that chainsaw,” Tom said offhandedly. “We just struck oil!” Tom gushed.) We called them Swifties, and my dad was great at coming up with them.
One time, on a long, summer road trip – my sister and I in the back seat, my mom and dad, better known to their peers as Ruth and Warren, up front – my father had been entertaining us with some Swifties. The jokes had been popular when he was a boy, but they were new to us.
Anyhow, in the midst of the joke-telling, we were jolted by a patch of uneven pavement. “That was a big bump, Warren said Ruthlessly,” my dad said, without missing a beat. I guess you had to be there.
Early in 1991, Polk Countians weren’t too sure we would be taking any road trips come summer. The price of gasoline had spiked after the Iraqi army invaded Kuwait, but by the start of the summer fuel prices had settled back to around $1.10 a gallon.
Let the road trips begin.
Also in June of 1991:
* The City of Onalaska added a third full-time patrolman to its police force at a salary of $1,000 per month.
* It was announced that Livingston’s Business and Professional Women’s Club had awarded scholarships to a mother and her daughter. Sarah Richardson, a 1991 Livingston High School graduate, planned to attend Middlebury College in Vermont.
The BPW’s Career Advancement Scholarship was awarded to Sarah’s mother, Virginia Sue Richardson, who would be a senior at Sam Houston State University in the fall.
* Livingston Chapter 1139 Order of the Eastern Star installed new officers on June 1, 1991 at Trinity Lodge No. 14.
Officers were Loyce Woods, worthy matron; Robert Parker, worthy patron; Charlene Sneed, associate matron; Nat Boyett, associate patron; Mary Collins, conductress; Oleane Lockert, associate conductress; Aline Fisher, chaplain; Murrell Boyett, marshal and Georgia Bailey, organist.
Others installed in various positions were Mary Clark, Marie Lea, Margie Griffin, Nora Pederson, Evelyn Rogers, W.O. “Bill” Willis and L.A. “Pete” Peterson.
* The newly-selected Livingston High School varsity cheerleaders started their summer vacation with a garage sale on June 6-7 to raise money for their group.
Named to the 1991-92 squad were Julie Hawkins, Nikki Oakman, Wendy Snook, Angie Phelps, Brandi Timbrook, Mary Pace, Amber Pixley (mascot), Erica Phillips, Chesney Lewis, Angie Smith and Susan Lowe.
* Polk County Garden Club officers Shirley Vannoy and Margaret Seljos looked on as County Judge John Thompson signed a proclamation declaring June 2-8 as Polk County Garden Week. Ongoing club projects in 1991 included landscaping of Livingston City Hall, Murphy Memorial Library, the entrance to Pedigo Park and the Old City Cemetery.
* The Exxon Annuitants club presented Deeds Awards to member logging the most hours of community service. Awards went to Lois Woods, Doris Morgan, Bea Crow and Velma Ashley.
* All-American basketball player Steve Harper led a basketball camp June 3-7 in the First Baptist Church Wadsworth Center for boys and girls ages 8 and over.
* First United Methodist Church in Livingston added Dee Herrod to its staff as youth director effective on June 1, 1991.
* Ninety-five volunteers made a different kind of road trip on June 1, walking along Polk County’s roadways collecting litter as part of the Great American Trash-Off.
Keep Polk County Beautiful Chairman Faye Jackson reported that those road trips really paid off, with the volunteers filling 183 bags of trash that were added to dumpsters at the event headquarters in The Bank of Livingston parking lot.